Giving Compass' Take:

• Hallie Busta at Education Dive interviews the CEO of HelioCampus to discuss how college campuses can utilize data to reduce expenses. 

• Why is it especially important for colleges to leverage data during the pandemic? 

• Read about creating a college community for students during COVID-19. 

Big data is making its way into higher education, and the companies helping make sense of it are hopeful colleges can use it to confront the array of challenges the pandemic is throwing at them.

In the months before the coronavirus shook up U.S. higher ed, these companies and even university consortia were trying to improve how they gathered and analyzed the multitudes of student and administrative information they were gleaning from campus. The movement, which some thought could "save" higher ed, even had a major ed tech industry group's support, though the shift hasn't been without criticism.

Now, with the pandemic stressing schools' bottom lines, the discussion of reducing expenses and becoming less tuition-dependent is again front and center. To learn more about the role of data and analytics in that conversation, we talked with Darren Catalano, CEO of HelioCampus, an analytics company that spun out of the University of Maryland Global Campus in 2016 and works with around two dozen colleges.

HelioCampus last week announced its first acquisition, ABC Insights, a company that helps colleges benchmark their costs relative to other institutions. It was created out of a business incubator at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. With the addition of ABC Insights, HelioCampus will work with more than 75 institutions.

We talked with Catalano about the acquisition and how colleges can think about gathering and using data amid the pandemic.

Read the full article about how data can help colleges during the pandemic by Hallie Busta at Education Dive.